Prepare to scream at Frightfest 2002!

Preview by Jack Foley

OCTOBER may be the official spooking season, but horror fans can get the screaming started early when Frightfest 2002 arrives at the Prince Charles Cinema in London’s Leicester Square between August 23 and 26.

The third event of its kind, the Lupo Frightfest promises to showcase some of the very best fright-flicks coming our way, offering horror fans a mouth-watering opportunity of seeing their favourite subject matter early.

This year’s line-up has strived toachieve diversity; with everything from out-and-out, spine-tingling horror, stomach-churning gore and psychological terror.

Hollywood is well-represented with the likes of Christopher (Memento) Nolan’s Insomnia and Mark Romanek’s One Hour Photo (both of which star a rejuvenated and far less sentiment-prone Robin Williams), as well as the return of another old favourite, the aptly-named Halloween: Resurrection.

But there is also an enticing mix of foreign and independent movie-making, with Hideo Nakata’s Dark Water, the Pang brothers’ The Eye, Shinsuke Sato’s The Princess Blade and Takashi Miike’s The Happiness of the Katakuris promising to do for Asian cinema what the likes of The Ring and Audition have already achieved.

Other highlights include John Polson's suspense thriller, Swimfan, Pedro L Barbero and Vicente J Martin's co-directed Spanish shocker Tuno Negro, and Richard Kelly’s critically-acclaimed and much talked about Donnie Darko.

Horror maestro David Cronenberg is represented with Spider (starring Ralph Fiennes), while the Brits get a look in with Andrew Green’s debut, Nine Lives (which only completes production two days before being screened).

There are also a varied selection of horror shorts, with Jonathan Beamish’s O, John Richards’ Sacrifice and Christopher Morris’ ghastly-titled Three Minutes of Torture among them.

Each screening will, no doubt, play host to at least one celebrity guest (see programme details for further information), as well as the usual selection of trailers, merchandise give-aways and prizes to be won.

Booking starts now, so peel away those bed covers, clear the throat and get ready to start screaming in August!

Programme details
Friday, August 23

Nine Lives - World Premiere: A paranormal psychological thriller from British director Andrew Green, who will introduce the movie along with its producer, Giles Hattersley. Several cast members are also due to attend. (7pm).

Frailty - sneak preview (pictured): The film which marks the directorial debut of Aliens and A Simple Plan star Bill Paxton, Frailty is described as ‘a rich, eerie, haunting tale of psychologically skewed backwoods horror steeped in an electric Southern Gothic atmosphere that adds untold fright to its Angel of Death chills’. (9.15pm)

Princess Blade - UK premiere: A massive Japanese Box Office money-spinner from director Sato Shinsukes, Princess Blade is a futuristic fantasy inspired by the best-selling comic book Shurayukihime. Includes the short Piss Boy. (11.30pm)

Saturday, August 24
Donnie Darko - sneak preview:
A critically acclaimed and powerfully affecting science fiction meditation on parallel universes, time travel and paranoid schizophrenia. Includes the short, Whacked. (1.30pm).

The Eye - English premiere: Eighteen years after going blind as a child, Mann undergoes a risky corneal transplant operation. But her newfound gift of sight comes with a curse as she starts seeing mysterious black-clad figures that predict sudden death (3.30pm).

Halloween: Resurrection - European premiere: More screaming, more blood, more knowing comedy. Features the short, Trailer Trash (a compilation of Sixties and Seventies trailers and cinema adverts). (6pm)

One Hour Photo - English premiere: Mark Romanek’s unsettling psychological drama is said to feature a stand-out performance from Robin Williams, no longer slumming it in saccharine-coated movie fare such as Patch Adams. Also features the short, Daddy. (8.15pm).

My Little Eye - English premiere: More from the Brits, as director Marc Evans and producer Jonathon Finn introduce this tale of five people who apply to live in an isolated house together for six months while their every move is filmed by numerous cameras. Big Brother 4: The Curse of Jade, anyone? This will be followed by a Q&A with the director and producer (10.45pm).

Sunday, August 25
Swimfan - sneak preview:
A teenage Fatal Attraction with a twist from Siam Sunset director, John Polson. Features the short, Whistle. (1.30pm).

Tuno Negro - British premiere: More horror from Spain and an audience favourite at the 2002 Portuguese Fantasporto Festival. Includes the short, 3 Minutes of Torture. (4.15pm).

Dark Water - English premiere: Japanese horror-master Hideo Nakata (the man behind Ring) returns to the grisly ghost genre. Includes the short, Cicerones. (6.30pm).

Spider - sneak preview:
A return to Dead Ringers territory for David Cronenberg based on Patrick McGrath’s 1990 novel and starring Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient and forthcoming Red Dragon). (9pm) (Main picture on this page)

Monday, August 26
Happiness of Katakuris - English premiere:
Director Miike Takashi camp cannibal horror based on a hit stage musical. (1pm)

Bloody Mallory - British premiere: Buffy the Vampire Slayer crosses paths with Indiana Jones in the latest comic strip horror sensation currently taking France by storm. Director Julien Magnat is to fly in from Paris to introduce the film. (4pm)

Insomnia - sneak preview: Christopher Nolan introduces what promises to be one of mainstream Hollywood’s films of the year, a psychological chiller starring Al Pacino and Robin Williams (pictured left). (5.30pm).

Ted Bundy - English premiere: The full, uncut version of Matthew Bright’s serial killer movie will be introduced by the director himself. (9pm)

WHERE IS IT?
7 Leicester Place (just off Leicester Square - up from Häagen-Dazs)
By Tube: Leicester Square or Picadilly Circus
Tel: 020 7494 3654